4/24 Leadoff man & Ramirez

Marlon Byrd was the Cubs’ leadoff man on Monday in New York against a lefty but that has been the only time. Lou Piniella is still tinkering with lineup vs. southpaw pitchers. On Saturday, Ryan Theriot was back in the No. 1 spot.

“I put Theriot in the eighth spot one time and rested him the second day and he’s responded and is swinging the bat well,” Piniella said. “Right now, we have Theriot leading off and Byrd in the two hole. I don’t think it’s over with but I’m comfortable with this lineup tonight.”

Let’s just say it’s a work in progress.

“I’ve always told you guys I like to stay constant,” Piniella said. “Sometimes you have to tinker with it and sometimes we’ll give people days off and then you really have to play with it. I’d prefer to have the same leadoff hitter.”

Aramis Ramirez was back at third but dropped to fifth against Milwaukee’s Doug Davis.

“We need for him to hit,” Piniella said of the third baseman, who is batting .127, and did not start two straight games to work with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. “He’s always been an integral part of the offense before I got here and during my years here and he’s also a really good RBI guy. We need Aramis to hit, there’s no question.”

— Carrie Muskat

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